Complaints surge over goods sold online in China

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Complaints about goods sold online in China have shot up more than fourfold in the past year, a news report said Tuesday, despite efforts to target the trade in counterfeit or shoddy products.

Only 59 per cent of goods sold online were genuine or of good quality last year, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting a government report.

Commerce authorities received 77,800 complaints about online orders last year, an increase of 357 per cent compared to the previous year, the government report said.

The report urging tightened regulation of e-commerce was presented Monday at a meeting of China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

China in March had promised further consumer protection measures on top of new rules last year that gave online shoppers more protections including the right to return goods within seven days, and registration of retailers’ names and details.

China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce in January had accused Chinese internet giant Alibaba of not doing enough to stop the sale of counterfeit, substandard or otherwise illegal goods.

Alibaba said last year they had cooperated with Chinese law enforcement agencies in over 1,000 counterfeiting cases, leading to hundreds of arrests.

“In addition, we remove product listings suspected of being counterfeit either reported by brand owners or found during our proactive monitoring. In 2014, we had identified and removed 119 million,” an Alibaba spokeswoman told dpa last week.

Online sales account for about 10 per cent of the country’s total retail, surging 50 per cent year-on-year to 2.79 trillion yuan (450 billion US dollars) in 2014.

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